11:11 PM May 28, 2024

What is Difference Between CBSE and ICSE

In this blog, we will discuss the main differences between CBSE and ICSE boards and help you decide which is better for your child.

When selecting the best schools for their children, Indian parents place a high value on the organisation to which the school is attached—the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). The two boards have a historical past and are well-known for their stringent academic standards, yet they can accommodate a wide range of educational needs and beliefs.

This comparison aims to provide an in-depth overview of the two educational boards, allowing you to make an informed decision.

We start by learning the fundamentals of each board.

Know the Major Differences Between ICSE and CBSE Boards

"Which board is the best: CBSE or ICSE?" , "Should I go for any other state board?", "Where should I admit my child?", "Which board should I prefer?" or the "What is the difference between CBSE and ICSE?"

Every parent faces this issue in providing the best possible education for their child. The present Indian education system is organized into three levels: primary, secondary, and senior secondary. 

Furthermore, CBSE and ICSE are two of India's most well-known education boards.

Although both boards have distinct qualities, parents have to understand the differences between the two boards, as well as the comparison between CBSE and ICSE, to make an informed decision. This is why, in this post, we'll provide you deeper understanding of these two boards and answer all of your queries.

Read Also: CBSE Full Form

Overview of CBSE Board

The official name for CBSE is "Central Board of Secondary Education". CBSE is the world's most prestigious educational board for both private and public schools in India. It is directed and supervised by the Government of India. It includes a mix of institutions including Kendriya Vidyalayas, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, and private schools. CBSE Board Exams for Classes 10 and 12 are normally held in March of each year.

The fundamental purpose of CBSE Board members is to guarantee the complete development of a child's personality and intelligence. The best CBSE schools, such as The CLC International Schools, also focus on overall development. The school's unique teaching technique, along with the complete CBSE curriculum, has helped CIS Schools to rank among the best CBSE schools in Sikar Rajasthan.

The CBSE system of education is well-known for its teaching methods, which are notably advantageous to students preparing for national entrance tests like JEE and AIPMT.

The CBSE curriculum is created by NCERT. National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Because all CBSE schools follow the same curriculum, there is a high degree of educational homogeneity.

It is particularly developed for students to balance numerous subjects such as mathematics, physics, humanities, arts, and sciences. However, greater emphasis is being placed on mathematics and science. This strategy helps students excel in both competitive tests and standard academic courses.

Furthermore, it should be mentioned that the CBSE syllabus is well-organized and user-friendly, with a focus on the fundamental principles of learning and a balanced academic structure. It is a popular choice among parents who wish to prepare their children for future studies in medical, engineering, or other competitive sectors.

Overview of ICSE Board

The full form of ICSE refers to the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. Unlike common belief, ICSE is not a school at all. It is essentially an examination administered by the CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations), an independent board designed to provide the highest level of education to Indian students.

The ICSE Board Exams for classes 10 and 11 are held annually in February and March. For classes 11 and 12, the curriculum is supervised by tests such as the ISC (Indian School Certificate) exam, which is administered by CISCE. Every year, the ISC Board exams take place between February and March.

The ICSE curriculum is known for its balanced approach to education, which places equal emphasis on arts, language, and sciences. The syllabus is acclaimed for its focus on practical learning and projects, with a significant amount of points allocated to examinations based on internal assessments.

This method provides students with practical abilities and prepares them for a variety of areas, including business, literature, and the arts.

English is a key priority for ICSE schools because it is the exclusive medium of teaching. As a result, kids who attend ICSE schools tend to have a strong grasp of English. This can be useful on English proficiency examinations such as the TOEFL or IELTS for students applying to institutions in other countries.

what is the difference between icse and cbse

The main difference between CBSE and ICSE in the subject area is their curriculum. CBSE focuses on mathematics and science, whereas ICSE promotes sciences, languages, and the arts. The syllabus of ICSE is more limited, but CBSE is primarily designed to prepare students for examinations such as JEE and NEET. Below are a few significant differences that exist among CBSE and ICSE Boards:

CBSE vs ICSE - Network and Affiliation Comparison

The ICSE's network of approximately 2,300 schools is significantly fewer than CBSE's, which has over 27,000 institutions affiliated in India alone.

The CBSE school network consists of all Kendriya Vidyalayas, all Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, a few private schools, and the vast majority of Government of India-endorsed schools. Its vast connection guarantees that CBSE is the most extensively used educational board in India, with a presence not just in big cities but also in many rural areas.

ICSE is administered by a privately owned board of CISCE-affiliated schools that have intentionally opted to follow this curriculum. These are often private institutions that are known for their high academic standards and emphasis on English proficiency. They are part of the ICSE boards, which have a significant presence throughout India with a special focus on cities with a high demand for English-medium education.

Both boards endeavour to provide high-quality education and are accredited by colleges and institutions throughout India and internationally.

difference between icse and cbse syllabus

CBSE's curriculum focuses heavily on science and math, making it perfect for students preparing for competitive entrance tests in India. However, ICSE offers a broader curriculum that emphasizes English ability and analytical skills, which is consistent with worldwide educational norms.

CBSE is well-known for its regulated and planned curriculum, which was established by NCERT. The fact that every CBSE school in India follows the same curriculum ensures that the educational system is uniform across the country. CBSE's curricula is more specialized than ICSE's, with a heavy emphasis on science and mathematics.

This is advantageous for students preparing to take national medical and engineering admission examinations like as NEET and JEE. The CBSE curriculum is reasonably customizable (albeit not as flexible as the ICSE syllabus), allowing pupils to choose from a diverse selection of optional topics at higher levels.

ICSE On the other hand, provides a more deep curriculum than CBSE. It encompasses a wide range of topics, with comparable relevance to the arts, languages, and sciences. In addition, the ICSE curriculum is well-known for its rigorous English language education and is believed to be of higher quality than other Indian boards. Because of the wide syllabus, the ICSE syllabus is sometimes seen as more complicated and broad than the CBSE syllabus.

CBSE vs ICSE - Examination and Evaluation Comparison

CBSE tests are often easier, with an emphasis on curriculum and direct application of principles. However, ICSE tests are more extensive, requiring a solid understanding of the idea as well as the capacity to think effectively and communicate oneself.

CBSE is a standard examination format. The board conducts two major exams: the All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE) at the end of class 10 and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) at the end of class 12. The questions will assess students' understanding of core concepts as well as their ability to apply these ideas in a range of contexts. 

CBSE Board exams typically include both subjective and objective questions, however, there has been a move toward more questioning based on competency. The test is less challenging, with a focus on basic replies rather than in-depth analysis or presentation.

The ICSE examination, which is taken in class of 10, and the ISC exam, which is taken in grade 12, are both well-known for their broad and rigorous character. Both assessments assess students' knowledge and understanding, as well as their ability to express simply and clearly. 

These questions often need accurate responses and a deep comprehension of the subject. The ICSE evaluation requirements are more stringent, with a focus on exact responses, language fluency, and presentation skills.

CBSE vs ICSE - Medium of Instruction Comparison

CBSE schools use both English and Hindi as their medium of teaching, whereas ICSE schools solely use English. Both techniques have advantages and disadvantages.

CBSE schools may serve students from all across India, including those who want to learn in Hindi rather than English because they offer education in both languages.

The ICSE's concentration on English as the principal medium of instruction enables pupils to develop good English writing and speaking skills at an early stage. This will benefit them if they choose to further their education or work overseas, particularly in English-speaking nations.

CBSE vs ICSE- Difficulty Comparison

CBSE schools use both English and Hindi as their medium of teaching, whereas ICSE schools solely use English. Both techniques have advantages and disadvantages.

CBSE schools may serve students from all across India, including those who want to learn in Hindi rather than English because they offer education in both languages.

The ICSE's concentration on English as the principal medium of instruction enables students to develop good English writing and speaking skills at an early stage. This will benefit them if they choose to further their education or work overseas, particularly in English-speaking nations.

CBSE has a simpler curriculum than ICSE. It focuses on the major areas, such as mathematics and science. Exam questions tend to be straightforward. If you can grasp the topic well, you will be able to do admirably in examinations.

The ICSE syllabus is tougher than CBSE's since it includes more subjects and delves deeper into each one. To score well in ICSE assessments, you must completely understand the ideas and subject content.

Furthermore, you must be able to compose and correctly deliver your answer, as each test assesses your writing and writing abilities on an individual or group level.

CBSE vs ICSE - Preparation for Competitive Exams

CBSE is typically the top choice for pupils aspiring to pass competitive examinations like JEE and NEET. This is because the syllabus for these tests closely resembles that of the CBSE curriculum.

This makes it much easier for CBSE applicants to prepare for the exam since they are already familiar with the many ideas and themes included in these assessments.

Although ICSE provides good foundations in English and broad-based education, it does not precisely coincide with the course of these tests. 

ICSE students may need to make extra efforts to study areas that are featured in competitive exams but are not part of their school's curriculum. However, the analytical abilities and in-depth information acquired through the ICSE curriculum may prove advantageous in the long run.

CBSE vs ICSE - Grading System Comparison

CBSE uses a grading system based on grades achieved. It uses a 10-point system to assess pupils, beginning with A1 (the highest grade for scores between 91 and 100) and progressing to A (for scores below 33). The following table explains the CBSE scoring system:


Grade Point

Marks Range



91 to 100



81 to 90



71 to 80



61 to 70



51 to 60



41 to 50



33 to 40

E1 & E2


21 to 32

Below is a table that outlines the Grading System:



1 and 2

Very Good

3, 4 and 5

Pass with Credit

6 and 7


8 and 9


CBSE vs ICSE - Fees Comparison

ICSE schools that are members of the CISCE are often more expensive than CBSE schools because they are mostly private. The CBSE Board has a good mix of private and public schools.

It is a standard design, however there may be a few variants. Locality, city, and the level of prestige connected with the school are all factors to consider.

CBSE vs ICSE - Scholarship Comparison

As a government-affiliated educational board, the CBSE board offers a variety of scholarships of varying amounts and lengths. The Board supports in the administration of many examinations aimed at finding exceptional talent deserving of these rewards. This makes CBSE Schools more accessible to kids from low-income backgrounds.

The CISCE Board does not directly provide scholarships. Instead, connected schools have the authority to design scholarship programs that they deem appropriate. As a result, ICSE schools are often less accessible to pupils from low-income families.

Advantages of CBSE Board

  • A National Reputation: CBSE is the most well-known board in India. This makes it simple to transfer from one school to another.

  • Competitive exams receive special attention. The syllabus matches closely with the preparation for Indian competitive examinations such as JEE and NEET.

  • Flexible Curriculum: Offers students a selection of elective studies, allowing them to explore a wide range of interests.

  • CBSE schools are often less expensive than ICSE schools due to the combination of private and public schools affiliated with the CBSE Board.

Disadvantages of CBSE Board

  • Less comprehensive: When compared to ICSE, the syllabus focuses more on mathematics and science than on other topics like arts and languages.

  • Language Limitation: concentrates exclusively on Hindi and English, providing few opportunities to learn about other languages.

Advantages of ICSE Board

  • Balanced Curriculum: Offers a comprehensive and balanced curriculum that focuses equally on the arts, languages, and sciences.

  • English competence: A heavy emphasis on English helps to acquire competence in the English language, which is advantageous for worldwide commercial possibilities.

  • Skills Development: Enables critical thinking and the development of in-depth topic knowledge.

Disadvantages of ICSE Board

  • A smaller school network: ICSE has roughly 2,300 schools, which is significantly less than CBSE's enormous network of 27,000 schools.

    Ability to focus on competitive exams The program is not especially intended for Indian competitive exams.

  • heavier Academic Pressure: The comprehensive curriculum may result in a heavier workload and academic stress for pupils.

  • ICSE Schools are often more expensive than CBSE Schools because the majority of them are private.

Similarities Between CBSE and ICSE

Although CBSE and ICSE have unique qualities, they both aim to provide high-quality education and prepare pupils for future professional and academic endeavors. Both boards have the highest requirements for education..

The key differences in CBSE and ICSE

  • rigorous academic curriculum Both CBSE and ICSE provide a broad and difficult curriculum. They seek to provide students with the knowledge and skills they will need in college and beyond.

  • A diverse variety of themes Students from each board have access to a variety of disciplines. This comprises the most essential disciplines, such as English, math, science, and social studies, as well as a variety of languages. A wide curriculum ensures that pupils acquire a full education.

  • Concentration on Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Both boards place a strong value on developing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. This strategy is vital to their teaching methods since it ensures that students are not only academically competent but also capable of applying their information in the actual world.

  • Academic excellence of the greatest standard Schools connected with CBSE and ICSE are mandated to maintain high academic standards. Regular inspections ensure that these requirements are met and that the board's commitment to educational excellence is reflected. 

  • Recognition across India CBSE and ICSE are recognized by institutions of higher education across the country. This makes the admissions procedure for Indian institutions and colleges more efficient.

  • Admission to entrance examinations Students from both boards can participate in a number of admission exams held throughout India, which open the door to further education options in a wide range of subjects.

  • Continuous Curriculum Improvement and Updates Both boards are well-known for often revising and modifying their curricula. This adaptability ensures that the curriculum remains current and relevant to the ever-changing globe.

  • CBSE and ICSE have an emphasis on overall development, offering a wide range of courses and disciplines in addition to academic study. This promotes kids' entire development and prepares them for a range of life situations.

Which Board is Better - CBSE or ICSE?

It may be unexpected. This may surprise you, but choosing the best institution for your child is about more than just the school board. The two CBSE boards, as well as the CISCE, offer excellent curricula designed to prepare your child for future success. 

Whatever board you choose, you must be actively involved in your child's and the school's instructors' progress. The curriculum and board are not the most important factors to consider while selecting the right school.

Some curricular restrictions can be addressed through the school's teaching methods and pedagogy. Also, your child may anticipate to get personalized attention. As a result, you should assess schools based on these variables as well, giving them more weight than the school's affiliation with the board.

It is also critical to ensure that your child enjoys wide-ranging growth possibilities that extend beyond the classroom and curriculum. This is the type of thing that The CIS Schools is known for, and it is one of the reasons why we have continuously been ranked as one of the best schools in Sikar.

We have also developed a project-based approach to teaching and learning, which allows pupils to expand their comprehension and knowledge of the themes beyond what is covered in CBSE.

We hope that this guide has given you an understanding of how to choose the best schools for your child and why it is critical to examine factors other than the school's curriculum.